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2016 Chevrolet Impala Overview
Back when Chevy re-introduced its full-bodied Impala for the 2000 model year, your grandfather thought he died and went to heaven. The 2016 Impala, on the other hand, is still sort of grandfatherly in appearance, and certainly in size, but this 5-passenger sedan has, since a comprehensive 2014 re-design, begun to appeal to the budget-minded family looking for a comfortable, well-equipped commuter scooter that’ll do some serious touring.
Again for the upcoming model year, the Impala is expected to be offered in 4 basic trims: the base LS, the up-featured LT, the flagship LTZ, and the bi-fuel (CNG/gasoline-burning) 2FL, aka the 3LT. Both the LT and the LTZ are also expected to return in a choice of the 4-cylinder-toting 1LT and 1LTZ trims, or the V6-equipped 2LT and 2LTZ sub-trims. And new for the upcoming model year, the pair of higher Impala trims are slated to be offered in an available Midnight Edition package boasting late-night-inspired Jet Black exterior and interior, bright sport pedals, unique 19-inch black-tinted aluminum wheels, black front and rear “bowtie” badges, and a black rear spoiler.
Further changes expected for 2016 include 5 new exterior color schemes, a new charging port for wireless devices, a few tweaks to the standard OnStar telematics, and, curiously, a less-powerful battery that loses 100 amps from the current version.
Standing pat for 2016 are the 2 essential engine choices: a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) mill, and the peppy 3.6-liter V6 powerplant. Additionally, last year’s debuting CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) edition of the 3.6-liter V6 also returns. Of course, all 2016 Impala iterations will be delivered only in front-wheel drive (FWD).
The I4, sporting 195 hp and 187 lb-ft of torque when mated with the also-returning 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission, remains standard in the entry-level LS trims, as well as in the 1LT and the 1LTZ. Look for mileage from this underwhelming drivetrain to remain an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city/31 highway/25 combined.
The LT and LTZ trims will again gain their “2” status when equipped with the available 3.6-liter V6 powerplant. Look for 305 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque from the V6, again under the auspices of the 6-speed shiftable automatic, with mileage estimates returning at 18/28/21. Oh, and a returning California-emissions version gets an estimated 19/29/22.
The Impala 2FL trim for 2016 returns the 3.6-liter V6 with CNG capability and also mates it with the 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission. Chevy claims 150 miles of city driving before the CNG fill-up runs out and the 2FL automatically reverts to gasoline-only mode. Alas, this V6 delivers only 230 hp and 218 lb-ft of torque when burning CNG, but both numbers increase when running on gasoline. Look for CNG mileage to remain estimated at 16/24/19, with gasoline-burning figures again pegged at 17/25/20.
Appearance bling expected to return for the 2016 Impala lineup (excluding the previously noted new Midnight Edition package) includes, depending on the trim selected, 18- or 19-inch steel or alloy wheels, keyless entry, and heated power-adjustable mirrors.
Inside, and again depending on the trim choice, look for such adornments as cloth or leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, a universal garage door opener, full power accessories, cruise control, and telescoping tilt-wheel steering. The base LS, meantime, boasts manual air conditioning, with higher trims offering not only standard dual-zone automatic climate control, but a rear-view camera, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and rear parking sensors as well.
Techno-wise, all 2016 Impalas are slated to be delivered with standard (and newly upgraded) Bluetooth-interfaced OnStar telematics and GM’s much-ballyhooed 4G LTE WiFi hotspot connectivity, with the LS offering a 4.2-inch display, while the LT and LTZ boast a standard 8-inch touchscreen display. Additionally, all trims come with a CD player complemented by 6 speakers, while an added USB port in the 2016 versions increases auxiliary audio input capacity. Higher trims, furthermore, add such standard audio upgrades as HD Radio, Internet radio, and satellite radio, as well as smartphone apps and an SD memory-card slot.
A few options packages have been relabeled for 2016, but essentially offer such available goodies as a power sunroof, upgraded and upsized wheels, and a Bose premium stereo system with 11 speakers. And don’t forget the new and highly touted Midnight Edition package that’ll now be offered with the LT and LTZ trims in both 1 and 2 iterations.
Standard safety equipment in all 2016 Impala variants is again expected to include 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side-mounted airbags, and front and rear head airbags. OnStar emergency alerts and communications, of course, return standard, as do old favorites like a post-collision safety system, daytime running lights, and a remote antitheft alarm. The LTZ trim pairing, meanwhile, is again slated to come with standard turn-signal-integrated mirrors, forward collision warnings, lane-departure alerts, and blind-spot monitoring, along with rear cross-traffic alerts, all of which remain optional in the 1LT and 2LT. Again available only to the 2LTZ, furthermore, are such safety extras as adaptive cruise control and front collision-mitigation braking.
The government gives the current Impala its best 5-star rating in crash tests, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also rates this full-size 4-door at its highest Good level in all test categories.
Owners complain that some of the infotainment functions in the current Impala lineup need work, thus the improvements scheduled for 2016. Overall, however, folks enjoy the touring-style ride comfort, passenger room, massive trunk capacity, impressive V6 power, and the just-right driving panache this hefty and quasi-posh Chevy sedan offers.
Look for the herd of 2016 Impala trims to gather in showrooms in the fall of this year, where they’ll renew their rivalry with such able adversaries as Toyota’s benchmark Avalon, Hyundai’s value-laden Azera and Genesis offerings (along with their Kia Credenza cousin), and Chrysler’s near-legendary 300, boasting rear-wheel drive and available V8 power.
Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.
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